VeggiesAs a physician, I have seen first-hand the growing epidemic of obesity in children.

I blog about techniques you can use to create healthy habits in your kids, and  I am sharing some basic kid-friendly recipes below. These recipes teach primary cooking skills that you can use to create many other foods. The simple Mac ‘n Cheese recipe below teaches you how to make a roux, a béchamel sauce, and a cheese sauce!

Try them out and let me know how much your kids liked them!

To learn about more healthy recipes and how to create healthy habits with your children, check out my book on Practical Parenting.



1 1/2 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. flour

1 1/2 cups milk, warmed

3/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. mustard powder

12 oz. pasta, cooked

10 oz. whatever cheese you like, as long as it melts, grated

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, mixed with breadcrumbs if you like.

Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add flour, stir until smooth and light gold (this is a “roux”). Stirring is easier with a whisk. Stir warmed milk into the roux until heated through and smooth. (Now you have a “Bechamel sauce.”) Add salt and mustard. Take off the heat, and add in the 10 oz. of grated cheese. Stir until cheese melts and mixture is smooth. Mix in the cooked pasta. Pour into a baking dish, top with Parmesan, bake until golden and bubbling (about 25 minutes at 400 degrees). Service with veggies. Save leftovers for Tuesday. Or save the whole thing: you can leave it in the baking dish in the refrigerator and cook it later. Do you have some pasta and bits of cheese in the fridge? You’re good to go!



Olive oil

1 pound ground meat (beef, pork or sausage)

4 slices of bacon (low sodium)

1 carrot (cut up tiny so the kids won’t see it)

1 onion, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

28 oz can tomatoes

2 cups beef stock

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the ground meat in a little olive oil, drain off the excess fat, set aside. Cook the bacon, drain the fat (recurring theme here), chop and set aside.

Put a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a pot, heat over medium. Toss in the veggies and cook until limp. Throw in the meats, tomatoes, stock, sugar, and seasonings. Simmer for an hour or more. Serve over pasta. It is even better the next day after the flavors meld.

Easy, right? And better than out of a bottle because you can make it to your taste, you’ll have more to share, and it’s cheaper, too! Change up the ingredients however you like, and use up the extra veggies in the fridge. Make it solely veggie by substituting mushrooms for the meat, and using vegetable stock. Serve it over pasta, layer it in lasagne, or stick it in the fridge for Tuesday. Play.


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